Blue Mountain Community Foundation awards dozens of grants to local groups

The Blue Mountain Community Foundation gave out more than $200,000 on Thursday.

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WALLA WALLA -- The Blue Mountain Community Foundation gave out more than $200,000 at the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center on Thursday evening to cover "seven domains of a healthy community," said Lawson Knight, executive director.

The foundation defines those as basic needs; health and wellness; education; economy; arts and culture; neighborhoods and communities, and environment.

Those are the components of a healthy community -- the ideal goal, Knight said in a press release.

"While we may never reach the goal, it sets the direction for our grant making and an understanding of how charitable dollars make a difference across the Blue Mountain area."

It was, once again, a harder year, he explained. Increased requests and continued pounding from the recession made 2009-2010 a difficult time for all area nonprofits.

"In the best of times, we were able to support almost 50 cents on every dollar requested," he said. "This year, the equivalent was 30 cents."

The foundation was asked for $649,524 by 83 organizations, topped only by 2008's numbers in the past five years, Knight said.

In addition to making grants, foundation President Mark Thompson recognized Jim Hayner's nine years of board service.

Since its inception in 1984, the Blue Mountain Community Foundation has grown to more than 250 charitable funds, granting more than $14 million since it was founded.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.

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